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Outdoor social gatherings, personal services given green light to reopen

Alberta eases some COVID-19 restrictions
Tyler Shandro
Health Minister Tyler Shandro. GOVERNMENT OF ALBERTA/Photo

Albertans can gather in small groups outside again and visit a personal service business starting next week.

On Thursday, Alberta Minister of Health Tyler Shandro announced outdoor gatherings of up to 10 people will be allowed starting on Monday, Jan. 18. Indoor gatherings remain prohibited.

Personal and wellness services, including salons, manicure and pedicure shops, barber shops and tattoo parlours will be allowed to open by appointment only starting Jan. 18.

Funeral ceremony attendance will be increased to 20 people, with mandatory masking and two-metre physical distancing, although funeral receptions are still prohibited.

Shandro said Albertans have done a good job so far of abiding by public health measures, but there are still hospitalizations and case numbers that put a strain on the system.

"We need everyone's co-operation to stay within the rules," Shandro said at a press conference Thursday.

“How much further we can ease restrictions depends on our collective efforts over the coming days and weeks to limit the spread of the virus.”

Provincial and regional trends will continue to be monitored and assessed over the coming weeks to determine if further easing of restrictions may be considered, the government said in a news release.

On Thursday, the province reported 967 new cases of COVID-19 with 16,219 tests run in the past 24 hours. The provincial positivity rate was 5.8 per cent. 

Currently, there are 806 Albertans in the hospital with COVID-19 and 136 of them are in the ICU. 

The deaths of 21 Albertans were reported on Thursday, bringing the total amount of Albertans who have died from the virus so far to 1,389.

A total of 66,953 doses of vaccine had been administered by the end of the day on Wednesday.

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